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Faculty Research

The department offers numerous opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to be involved in research with its faculty. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research, to increase their knowledge, apply what has been learned in class and contribute to new knowledge in Physics.

Our department's expertise covers a broad range of topics. Current research activities are in the areas of condensed matter physics and materials science, astrophysics, few body and nuclear physics, high energy and particle physics.

Experimental/Applied Physics

Experimental and applied physics research is performed in a variety of fields of condensed matter physics and materials sciences. Among the systems of interest are two-dimensional quantum materials such as graphene, van der Waals layered heterostructures, topological electronic phases, superconducting-ferromagnetic hybrid systems and nanoparticles, organic semiconductors. These systems are fabricated in the lab or obtained from collaborations around the world, and studied using state of the art experimental techniques such as quantum coherent transport, Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect (MOKE), Atomic and Magnetic Force Microscopy (A/MFM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) or Angle Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy (ARPES) at the ALS in Berkeley.

The program offers professional learning that leads to the understanding and mastering of modern experimental techniques relevant for industry and academic research. Students have the opportunity to learn and operate many state-of-the-art equipment, detailed below.

Professors in this field:

Theoretical/Computational Physics

Members of the department work on a variety of fields of physics. Topics of interest are diverse, as for example the fractional quantum Hall effect, topological quantum phases, composite fermion theory, strongly correlated lattice models, quantum phases of magnetic Josephson junctions and superconducting-magnetic hybrid systems, QCD of quarks in extremely dense or hot matter such as inside neutron stars, grand unification theory, CP violation in higher dimensions.

Computational Physics combines the power of Computers with the analytical skills of Physics to solve complex scientific problems. Very few physicist work only with "paper and pencil." Most use the power of computers to model and describe nature. Such problem-solving skills are highly valued in the broad scientific and industrial workplace and can open up numerous opportunities to a well-equipped student.

Professors in this field:

Facilities and Equipment

The department maintains or has access to the following facilities and equipment.

Experimental Resources

  • High-Vacuum Multi-Target Sputtering Machine
  • Magneto-Optical Kerr Effect (MOKE)
  • Quick-dipper Resistance Measurement Probe
  • Physical Properties Measurement System (PPMS Evercool II), including:
    • Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM)
    • AC Susceptibility and transport measurement
    • Magnetic torque measurement
    • horizontal rotator for angular dependence measurement
  • Electron Beam Evaporator
  • Teslatron
  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
  • Multimode Nanoscope III Scanning Probe Microscope system, including:
    • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)
    • Magnetic Force Microscope (MFM)
    • Electric Field Microscope (EFM)
  • Alternating Gradient Magnetometer
  • Semiconductor Probe Station
  • Pulsed NMR Spectrometer
  • Near-Field microscope

Computational Resources

  • vSMP 32-core virtual cluster machine
  • several 12-core MacPro
  • Graphics Processing Units (GPU)
  • fully-equipped Computational Physics Laboratory
  • computational software, including:
    • Maple
    • Mathematica and gridMathematica
    • Matlab
    • IDL
  • Density functional theory (DFT) programs
  • Student offices with up-to-date computer facilities